PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The "Point-In-Time Homeless Count" is more than just putting a number to the amount of people living on the streets. Organizers say it's also about collecting data to help understand the source of the issue, as well as fund resources.
"Ultimately as a result of this count around the U.S., it will head the Congress and also the U.S. Department of Housing Plan for how they're going to fund homeless activities across the U.S.," Dennis Newborn.
This is Dennis, he calls himself "The Bag Man," and every year he hands volunteers bags of toiletries and supplies to give to the homeless community.
One of those volunteers is Diana, who says getting involved in the count was a natural fit for her.
"I'm the oldest of four, I've always had that passion to help others, and put others first before myself," Diana said. "Every morning I wake up and appreciate my job, I appreciate what I do and I want others to feel the same way."
Groups go out looking behind dumpsters and in alley ways, armed with a smile and their bags. They ask questions like, "How did you end up here? What would you find to be the most valuable resource to you?"
Even though it's a problem that requires constant effort, leaders say they're encouraged, as their volunteer numbers doubled from last year.
"It makes me feel really good," Anne Marie Johnston said. "There's a lot of people here and we did a little count the other day to see how many people have never done this before and the room was full of people who have never done the count."